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Q&A With: Sudhinder Thakur

This leading executive in India's civilian nuclear power program tells us that his country's recent agreement with the United States will help in a plan to use thorium as a fuel

5 min read

Sudhinder Thakur, a 58-year-old mechanical engineer with a degree from the University of Delhi, is executive director of corporate planning for the Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd. (NPCIL), a government enterprise charged with building and running the country’s nuclear power plants. He sat down with IEEE Spectrum Senior Editor Harry Goldstein in the company’s offices in Mumbai in January to talk about the recent agreement between the United States and India that could ultimately provide India with access to light-water reactor technology and uranium. Thakur also spoke about India’s indigenous program, which will ultimately rely on a combination of fast breeder reactors and thorium, an element that in India is more plentiful than uranium.

Spectrum Online: What is the status of the fast breeder program?

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This photograph shows a car with the words “We Drive Solar” on the door, connected to a charging station. A windmill can be seen in the background.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is embracing vehicle-to-grid technology, an example of which is shown here—an EV connected to a bidirectional charger. The historic Rijn en Zon windmill provides a fitting background for this scene.

We Drive Solar

Hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles dot Utrecht’s urban landscape in the Netherlands like little electric mushrooms. Unlike those you may have grown accustomed to seeing, many of these stations don’t just charge electric cars—they can also send power from vehicle batteries to the local utility grid for use by homes and businesses.

Debates over the feasibility and value of such vehicle-to-grid technology go back decades. Those arguments are not yet settled. But big automakers like Volkswagen, Nissan, and Hyundai have moved to produce the kinds of cars that can use such bidirectional chargers—alongside similar vehicle-to-home technology, whereby your car can power your house, say, during a blackout, as promoted by Ford with its new F-150 Lightning. Given the rapid uptake of electric vehicles, many people are thinking hard about how to make the best use of all that rolling battery power.

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